The term Pleadings, Drafting and Conveyancing are interchangeably used very often in the court proceedings. A Plaint is a pleading and thus it should meet the general rules or guidelines of pleading. It is a specific document filed by the parties in a civil or criminal lawsuit which states the current position of the parties in litigation. It is regarded as backbone of any judicial system. In Legal term, Pleading is a formal statement of the course of action or defence while conveyance is an instrument or a document by which[i] one living person transfers property in present or future to one or more living persons. The term “Pleading” and “Conveyancing” seems to be synonyms of each other but both has its own distinct feature.
Introduction to Pleading
Pleading forms basis to conduct proceedings before the Court of Law. In simple term Plaint means, “an accusation or charge for an offence”. The term Plaintis not defined in the code however Order VII of the Code deals with Plaint. Order VII contains 18 Rules. Rule 1 consist the particulars to be furnished in the plaint. Plaint opens with the name of the Court, where the case/suit is been filed. Pleadings are in form Civil matter (Plaint, Written statement), Criminal matter (Complaint) and Writs and they are mostly governed by procedural law. Pleadings are “Acts of LAW”. [ii] In case of Pleading, the party concerned is required to pay court-fee by way of judicial stamps or challan. Before the starting of a trial or civil suit it is highly desirable that the Court should know what exactly it has to decide the matter based on the parties what they are contesting about.
- Order 6 Rule 1 of THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908 defines Pleading as “a plaint or a written statement”. It means that a plaint is the pleading filed on behalf of the victim i.e plaintiff. Parties are normally expected to confine to pleadings. Pleadings are liberally constructed.
- Order 6 Rule 3 and 4 deals with forms of pleadings and particulars to be given where necessary. Plea of special nature to be specifically pleaded.
- [iii]Order 6 Rule 17 deals with amendment of pleadings, Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow amendment of pleadings. A Pleading may be revised into three following ways-
- By amending it at the instance of the Court itself;
- By amending it at the instance of the opposite party ;and
- By amending one’s own pleading with the leave of the Court.
Objects of pleadings
The Privy Council, in the case of Someswar v Trivuban, 1934 (P.C) 130 observed that the whole object of pleading is to give fair notice to each party of what the opponent’s case to ascertain with precision , the points to which the parties agree and those on which they differ and thus to bring the parties to a definite issue.
Thus, the purpose of Pleading is to narrow down the parties to definite issue and thereby to reduce expensive and delay as also to ensure that they are taken by surprise by either party enlarging the issue subsequently.
Fundamental rules of pleadings
The fundamental rule of Pleading is to find out and narrow down the controversy between the parties, and to give each party a fair notice of the case which the other intends to set up at the trial so that an action at law may not look like a game of chess. To attain these objects the CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE requires the observance of certain rules laid down in its various provisions. The requirements of Order VI Rule 2 which runs –
- Every Pleading shall contain a statement in a concise form of the material of facts on which the party pleadings relies for his claim or defence as the case might be or might not the evidence by which they are to be proved.
- Every pleading shall whenever necessary be divided in to paragraphs , numbered consecutively, each allegation being, so far as is convinent contained in separate paragraphs.
- Dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in the pleading in figure as well in words.
The following four rules (SEE ORDER 79) may be deducted from the mentioned provisions-
- [iv]Every Pleading must state facts and not law.
- [v]It must state all material facts and material facts only.
- It must state only the facts on which the pleading party relies and not the evidence by which they are to be proved.
- [vi]It must state the facts concisely; but with precision and certainty.
Grounds on which a plaint can be returned
Return of Plaint :-The Code of Civil Procedure empowers the civil court to return the plaint if in case it was not filed appropriately. Return is different from Rejection of plaint. Return of Plaint simply mean that the Court is not empowered to entertain the suit for which the plaint has been filed. On such circumstances, the plaint is rejected if the necessary requirements of a plaint does not meet its aspect or if the certain provisions are vague and ambiguous. As per Order 7 Rule 10(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 a plaint is to be returned on the sole ground of lack of jurisdiction with the concerned Court-territorial, pecuniary or other causes. If the court is satisfied that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, it’s the duty to give effect to that on its own initiative. To quote, Rule 10 Order 7- “[vii]) Subject to the provisions of rule 10A, the plaint shall at any stage of the suit be returned to be: presented to the Court in which the suit should have been instituted.
(2) [viii]Procedure on returning plaint- On returning a plaint, the Judge shall endorse thereon the date of its presentation and return, the name of the party presenting it, and a brief statement of the reasons for returning it”.
[ix]A court of appeal or revision may direct, after setting aside the decree passed in a suit the return of the plaint this sub-rule. On returning the plain the Judge shall endorse thereon the date of its presentation and return the name of the party presenting it and brief statement of the reasons for returning it.
Grounds on whicha plaint can be rejected
Rejection of Plaint :-[x] Order VII RULE 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908 elaborates the process of rejecting plaint . The plaint shall be rejected on the following circumstances-
- [xi]Where it does not disclose a cause of action;
- [xii]Where the relief claimed is undervalued and the plaintiff on being required by the court to correct the valuation within the time to be fixed by the court fails to do so;
- Where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is written upon paper insufficiently[xiii] stamped and the plaintiff on being required by the court to supply the requisite stamp paper within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so;
- Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaintiff to be barred by any law;
- Where it is not filed in duplicate;
- Where the plaintiff fails to comply with the provisions of Rule 9 [ORDER7 , RULE 11].
The time fixed by the court for the correctness of the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-papers shall not however be extended unless the court for reasons to be recorded is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature from correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-papers as the case may be within the time fixed by the court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to the plaintiff.
“The views of the authors are personal“
[i]UNIVERSAL BARE ACT, CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908; CIVIL PROCEDURE WITH LIMITATION ACT 1963(NEW CHAPTER ON COMMERCIAL COURTS) LATESTEDITION -2020 C.K TAKWANI BY EBC